Teri Polen (Bad) Mooned Me

Young adult horror, sci-fi, and fantasy author Teri Polen Bad Mooned me.

I know, it’s true. I should have known better and I’m ashamed of myself.

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

 
Teri asked me a bunch of questions – Would you rather be a vampire or a lion tamer?… Read the rest

Young adult horror, sci-fi, and fantasy author Teri Polen Bad Mooned me.

I know, it’s true. I should have known better and I’m ashamed of myself.

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

 
Teri asked me a bunch of questions – Would you rather be a vampire or a lion tamer? (no, that’s not right. I have The Magic Show on my mind. sorry), What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?, As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? and others.

I must have done good because the comments were flattering and I do oh so love flattery.

I do, I do, I truly do.

And please check out Teri’s books. We’ll both appreciate it (my reward is knowing I helped Teri out).

The Witch [[Tag/The Apple/The Seed??]]

Okay, another version of a story started in 1994. I posted the start of a major revision in Tag (now available free to everyone).

That major revision is going to turn into either a novella or novel set in the same geographic location as this story, although a bit in the future.… Read the rest

Okay, another version of a story started in 1994. I posted the start of a major revision in Tag (now available free to everyone).

That major revision is going to turn into either a novella or novel set in the same geographic location as this story, although a bit in the future. This version here is preamble, probably something mentioned in that longer story as a predicating event.

This version also came about using different/new writing methods for me and is somewhat experimental. Do let me know what you think.

And definitely let me know what the title is. I’m open to suggestion.


Julia danced among oaks and ash, two short steps towards Eric, two long steps away, always drawing him into the hollow, always a hand or two beyond his reach. Once one of her long, blonde braids brushed the back of his hand and he almost had her, but he wasn’t quick enough, never quick enough.

“You’re such an old woman, Eric.”

Eric stopped as Julia entered a copse of ancient, dark boled trees. His hands staid his knife and axe, good forester’s tools his father gave him, swinging from his belt. “We are too far from the village.”

“Says your grandmother who brings apples to any who will listen.”

“The Old Ones remember — ”

“The old ones are old.” She disappeared among the trees.

Eric paced outside the copse. “The skies darken. A storm approaches. We must get back before we have to take shelter.”

She singsonged from deep in the hollow, “Oh, Eric. Oh, help me, Eric.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head, his arms crossed tightly over his chest.

Her voice changed. “Eric, help!”

Eric lifted his axe and entered the copse. A hand spun him as he passed a thick bodied willow. His axe flashed up.

Julia leaned against a deeply boled ash, her hands over her stomach, laughing. “Oh, Eric. You’re such a child.”

He lowered his axe, his nostrils flared, his face red. “First and old woman and now a child. And in both I’m alive. You play a dangerous game, Julia.”

“Oh, poo poo poo, Master Eric.” She held her arms out to him. “Would you like a reward for your gallantry?”

Eric brushed her hands away as he turned back towards their village, his axe still in his hand. “Sometimes the reward isn’t worth the risk.”

Something snagged his axe hand. He spun back at her. “I have had enough — ”

A hand formed of twigs reached around Julia’s face, filling her mouth with leaves, choking her. A branch gripped his axe hand, holding it to his side, pulling him into the bole.

Julia took the axe from his hand as the tree pulled him beside her. She swung at the branch holding him. A voice shrieked from inside the bole. Red, blood-like sap covered Eric’s face as the branch snapped back. He screamed and covered his eyes.

Branches gathered around them and became flesh covered arms. Lightning broke through the trees overhead. Thunder shook the hollow.

A single rain drop fell onto the hand covering Julia’s mouth. It steamed like fields on a hot summer morning.

Rain drops blew through the leaves. The arms blistered into branches where the rain struck them. Pink flesh boiled into black bark. The thing in the bole screamed like a pig under the butcher’s hand.

Julia swung Eric’s axe again. The hand covering her mouth snapped back, clasping the side of the ash. A woman, half crone, half maiden, appeared in the bole.

Eric reached out, his hands searching.

The crone spoke in Julia’s voice. “This way, Eric. This way.”

Julia grabbed Eric’s hand and pulled him back.

Winds gathered rain. The smells of a sweet spring storm swept through the hollow.

The witch screamed and withdrew into the bole.

“Hurry, Eric. Run.” She pulled him, half dragged him, to the top of the crest of the rise encircling the hollow and stopped. Rain rolled down their faces, parted their hair, stuck their clothes to their cold, sweating skin.

Julia’s hand went to her breast as she gasped for breath. Eric held tight.

“We’re safe, Eric. Witches fear the rain. That’s what the Old Ones say. Grandmother tells us about them often. They can’t be out in the rain. She can’t hurt us as long as it rains.”

He didn’t let go, wouldn’t drop her hand. “I am blind, Julia.”

His beautiful eyes, eyes that once glowed like candles when they looked upon her, were covered with white, weeping flesh, no pupils visible at all.

The witch, inside her dark bole, laughed.

***

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Atmosphere Is…

Regular blog readers have seen my reviews of writing books. I distill these readings into easy to use and remember storycrafting and storytelling chunks and will share my learnings in this blog.

Writing what I’m learning, explaining it, helps me understand it.… Read the rest

Regular blog readers have seen my reviews of writing books. I distill these readings into easy to use and remember storycrafting and storytelling chunks and will share my learnings in this blog.

Writing what I’m learning, explaining it, helps me understand it. Or let’s me know I don’t. Please feel free to comment and let me know when you’ve got something different. The whole point of this exercise is to learn!


Atmosphere is the presenting of physical details so as to create an emotional reaction in the reader. Emotional reaction is what allows the reader to identify and empathize with characters in the story.

 
Consider the line “Eric stopped as Julia entered a copse of ancient, dark boled trees” from a horror story I’m working on.

The details relevant to Atmosphere are “stopped” and “a copse of ancient, dark boled trees.” The word “stopped” tells us Eric doesn’t want to do something and what he doesn’t want to do is follow Julia into “a copse of ancient, dark boled trees.”

I hope readers experience some tension, some foreboding, and at the same time want to read more to learn 1) why Eric stops and 2) what happens to Julia in the copse. People have walked among old trees and loved the experience. But chances are people enjoyed walking in a brightly lit forest, sunlight streaming through the leaves of ancient trees or perhaps a forest rich with the sounds and scents of wildlife nesting in old trees or maybe a woods with rustling leaves and grasses guiding travelers on their way.

Such descriptions are longer than a copse of ancient, dark boled trees and intentionally so. I kept the phrase a copse of ancient, dark boled trees short to create a sense of confinement, entrapment, to make readers ill-at-ease; all emotional responses to physical details.

Creating reader emotional reaction is important to successful fiction and non-fiction writing. You want the reader involved, engaged. A bored reader stops reading your book and worse, won’t buy another one you’ve authored. An unengaged reader doesn’t care about your characters, your plot, your story, and ultimately, won’t care about you as an author.

The line Eric stopped as Julia entered a copse of ancient, dark boled trees should make the reader sympathize more with Eric than Julia because Eric is showing caution while Julia is entering that copse of ancient, dark boled trees and people (in real life) tend to favor caution.


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Binky

Marino sipped cold coffee from a white styrofoam cup. He stood in his corner of the office he shared with the clinic staff. A bricked up fireplace ran along the wall nearest his desk, his clarinet on the mantle. Each day started with a little klezmer or polka, something to amuse the staff before the day began.… Read the rest

Marino sipped cold coffee from a white styrofoam cup. He stood in his corner of the office he shared with the clinic staff. A bricked up fireplace ran along the wall nearest his desk, his clarinet on the mantle. Each day started with a little klezmer or polka, something to amuse the staff before the day began.

He nodded and smiled as they came in – “Morning, Dr. Marino”, “Morning, Janet.”, “Yo, Peter.”, “Yo yourself, Brian.” – performing a headcount.

He was one shy. Who…

Pahtmus’ and Officer Houle’s voices rose above the chants and hollers of protesters outside the clinic, beyond the perimeter fencing.

“You know you can’t park here?”

“I work here. You’ve seen me every day this week.”

“How come you don’t have a sticker on your car?”

“This is the first day I drove my car.”

“You got a sticker?”

Marino nodded to one of the new volunteers, “Vicki, could you run out with a parking permit for Dr. Pahtmus, please.”

He met Pahtmus in the entranceway. “Pretty loud today,” Marino said.

“Ah. You heard.”

“A little. You’re in triage today.”

Pahtmus nodded and shuffled off to the waiting and reception area.

“Wait a second. You’ll need this.” Marino held out a folding chair.

“Uncomfortable and austere is not chic, my friend.” Pahtmus waded into the sea of too many people and too much noise.


Greetings! I'm your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. Members can view the rest of this post by simply Logging In. Non members can view the rest of this post by joining. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!